R2-D2 in next Star Wars film
THE highly anticipated next instalment of the Star Wars franchise will be set 30 years after Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi, Walt Disney chief executive Bob Iger said on Tuesday at the company's annual shareholders' meeting.
Disney purchased Star Wars production company LucasFilm for US$4.05 billion (S$5 billion) in 2012 and announced that it would release three new films in the popular sci-fi series.
Fans have been avidly awaiting details of the next film, Star Wars: Episode VII.
Return Of The Jedi was the third film in the first trilogy of Star Wars, released between 1977 and 1983. The series is set in a galaxy far, far away, in the past.
Mr Iger did not reveal any casting news, other than to confirm the return of the robot character R2-D2.
The official Star Wars website posted on Monday that the new films would feature "a trio of new young leads, along with some very familiar faces", and that filming would begin in May at London's famed Pinewood Studios.
Rumours have swirled for over a year on whether some of the franchise's stars, including Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, would return.
Trade magazines have reported that rising stars, including Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o and Girls actor Adam Driver, were being considered.
The Star Wars franchise was created by director George Lucas and comprises six films that have grossed more than US$4.4 billion at the box office worldwide since the first film was released in 1977.
Episode VII will be released on Dec 18, 2015, and will be directed by J. J. Abrams, who helmed the recent Star Trek film franchise reboot.